With this trip, I wanted to get as far away from my house, my job, Peterborough as my budget would allow.
My budget allowed for Warsaw. I got the flights and accommodation for just under £87. A no brainer so I booked it. I spent a full 7 days here. I love Poland. It is such a beautiful country.
The trip out was pretty uneventful. Mundane in fact. The trip back: well, that was far from uneventful or mundane!
I decided to have a quick look at the news before I had to leave the hostel. I was not liking what I was reading. There had been a lightning strike at the airport affecting delivery of aviation fuel. You can read the story here.
I decided to do some checking of WMI and STN airport departure/arrival boards and saw that the flight I was on was cancelled. Surprisingly enough, the flight before mine and the flight after mine were just fine.
I decided to call Ryanair and I got nowhere. The agent on the phone said to go to the airport as the flight was not cancelled. I argued with them about what I had seen and he said it was still flying and to go.
I listened and headed to the centre of Warsaw to pick up the bus. As I was on the tram, I got the below:
I can’t even tell you how stressed I started to feel. I got the message at 10:25 and I was due to fly in less than 5 hours. I got back on the phone and told them of the options they had to provide me and they were less than helpful again. I was frantically trying to get hold of my boss to make him aware of the issue and that I wouldn’t be able to be back in time for my shift. There was talk of me being stranded for 2 extra days.
Stressed is an understatement.
I got to the airport and had to wait 30 minutes to speak with someone to re-route me and another 60 minutes to get someone to find me a hotel. Find me a hotel they did.
What they didn’t tell me was that it was 10 miles away from the airport and in the middle of nowhere.
Now don’t get me wrong, the room was nicer than the hostel and the dinner they provided was nice too. I wasn’t fond of the 5:30 pick up though.
I got back to the airport and had to argue for a meal voucher for breakfast. What a load of rubbish that was too. This is what they provided me:
It was for a measly £3.50 or €5.00 and could only be used in a coffee shop after security. It was enough to get me 3 bottles of water and that was it.
I finally boarded and got to Athens and sat twiddling my thumbs for what I was hoping was 3 hours but it turned in to 4.5 hours. I finally boarded and headed to Stansted.
I was so glad when I landed on home turf. I missed the last train to Peterborough and had to have a friend pick me up from Cambridge station. I was so glad to get back home to bed.
2:30 flight time
Re-routing due to cancellation
3 hour wait.
90 minutes late leaving.
90 minutes late.
11:10 total travel time from WMI - STN
Last train missed!
On my way from the airport in to the centre of Warsaw, we passed the Multimedia Fountain Park. When I was last in Warsaw, we drove the same route as the bus but I hadn’t noticed it before. Very strange since it has been there for a number of years!
I decided that since it involved water, I would go. Anyone who knows me knows I love water and am pretty much mesmerised by it.
This park wasn’t an exception. I was mesmerised by the fountains and the patterns as much as I was mesmerised by the water itself.
I had a quick look at the map to figure out the best way to get there. It involved a tram and a bus. Little did I know that there was a tram stop close by that I hadn’t noticed on the map. Haha!
I went in the morning and sat in the park for a couple of hours just watching the fountains and the patterns the water was making. I had a walk around the park and sat atop the hill looking down at it.
I decided that I would go again in the evening when the lights would be on. I wasn’t disappointed. The lights made it all that better (beware of the bugs flying round at night though).
Below are some videos from the fountains.
Below are some pictures of the fountains and from the park
Katedra Rzymskokatolicka Pw. św. Floriana - Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel and St. Florian the Martyr
This is one of the ones I noticed when I was sat on the hill above the Multimedia Fountains. It was one of the churches that could be seen from the banks of the Vistula for a good distance. The church is located in the Praga district of Warsaw.
Outside the gates is a statue of Father Ignacy Skorupka. He was a chaplain of the Polish Army and was one of the most famous casualties of The Battle of Warsaw. He died on August 14th 1920.
I headed inside the church and was in awe of the interior. Whilst not overly ornate, it was more ornate than some of the churches we have in the UK.
I think I spent around 90 minutes here just looking around as my eyes couldn’t take it all in.
Below are some pictures from this church.
The next church I decided to visit was a church that I had seen from the window of the tram when I was sitting on the tram in the rain. I passed it and then seemed to lose it (little did I know it was just down the street from the last one I visited). I had to rely on Google Maps to help me find it again.
Find it I did though and off I went to it. I struggled to find the entrance at first (I know, I don’t know why either).
It looked fairly small and like it wouldn’t be much to look at from the outside. It has a small footprint, but it fit quite a lot inside. Ornate is not even the best way to describe this. It is an Eastern Orthodox church so it was very similar to the inside of churches you would see in Russia.
I will let the pictures below do it justice!
I had seen that there was a church close by to where I was staying (about 3 tram stops), so I decided that I would go there on my last full day. I decided to head there in the morning before the rain started. I managed to get back on the tram right before it poured down.
This is located in the Żoliborz district of Warsaw. It is a well known sanctuary of the Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko. He was a spiritual leader of the Solidarność (Polish Labour Party). He was killed by communists in 1984. From 1980 until his death, he conducted popular Masses here. This is where his funeral was held and his tomb is on the grounds next to the church. They estimate that roughly 20 million people from 100 countries around the world have visited this church.
As I was inside, I could see that there was a political link with the church. There were flags from the Warsaw Uprising and the Polish Labour Party.
Below are some pictures from the church.
One thing I didn’t do the last time I was in Warsaw was go to the top of the Palace of Culture and Science.
I decided that this time round I would do it. I wasn’t feeling the greatest this day but I decided I would just go ahead and do it anyway.
It was well worth it. I bought my tickets and headed to the lift to get to the 30th floor so I could have a look around.
What an awesome 360° view as you walked around the viewing platforms.
I can’t even do the views justice so I will let the pictures do it for me.
One of the things that Jamie and I (I know I at least did) wanted to do when we were in Warsaw was to visit the Jewish Cemetery.
I decided that should I ever go back that I would visit it.
I did it on a day where I had not a lot else to do so I wasn’t feeling rushed.
It was such a sad sight. The cemetery wasn’t really kept very well and there were places where walls and headstones were falling apart. It was so sad to see given the history contained within the walls.
The cemetery was established in 1806 beyond the trenches of the city. It is marked by modern day Okopowa Street. The cemetery is the resting place of over 200,000 people ranging from spiritual leaders to political activists to thousands of nameless victims of the ghettoes.
The cemetery is the only active Jewish cemetery in Warsaw. It still conducts active burials and is protected by the Office of Historic Preservation of the Capital City of Warsaw.
The one thing I did notice once I was in the walls of the cemetery was the abundance of peace and reverence. Whilst outside the walls was the busy Okopowa Street with cars, buses and trams, you could barely notice them once inside the walls.
Below are some of the pictures from the cemetery since I can’t convey properly what it is like in there.